Eriks EsenvaldsEriks Esenvalds was born on January 26th in Priekule, Latvia in 1977. He still lives in Latvia with his wife and four children. His mom was a music teacher and was one of the first people to get him interested in music. That was where his interest began. He works as a composition teacher at the Latvian Academy for Music. He is also a public speaker. One of his current commission projects includes writing for the South Dakota Chorale. His work has been included in several choral compilations his work has also been featured on six different albums. In 2018 he wants to have a multimedia symphony that uses volcanoes as its inspiration. His genre is classical and his styles are choral, opera, and chamber music. He sang in a choir himself from 2002 to 2011. He was a part of the Latvian State Choir during those years. He has won the Latvian Grand Music Award 3 times and those are just a few of his achievements. His work has been premiered all over the world and a lot of places in the U.S.A. He is also a popular speaker and he gives talks about his music and different topics. After his mom introduced him to music, his teacher also guided him in the direction of music He was in music class when he says he randomly decided to write down a couple bars of music and then his teacher played and it wasn’t necessarily good but it inspired him to keep going because his teacher had told him he should continue to write music. That is what he ended up doing too. When he wanted to start writing music though he didn’t have sheet music when Latvia was in the Soviet Union. He would have to just listen to songs and figure out what the notes were by ear. He also says that the purpose of many of his songs is to somehow capture the tone of a landscape through the music. That is an interesting perspective to take when listening to his music. I also found it interesting that he says in an interview that if he wasn’t a composer he would have liked to have been a doctor. It sounds like he really just wants to help people.The first song I chose for this paper is “Stars”. The song really actually sounds like how a night would sound like. The way they change notes reminds me of the wind in the trees or something. The piece itself makes me think of a clear night sky where you can really see the stars and then when I watched the video of it it made me think more specifically of a summer night for some reason. The piece was written for SATB. There’s some kind of instrument going that sounds like a bell or ringing sound. The song is in english and its very slow and mellow. I couldn’t find any background information on the song or why it was written. When the girls come in and sing at the beginning it really sets a kind of mood for the whole song just very light sounding at the beginning and then when the guys com in then the sound gets a lot heavier. I chose this song because whatever kind of instrument they had going at the beginning made me wanna listen to the rest of it.  The second song I chose for this was  “Only in Sleep”. The song is still of a dreamy sound with a girl singing a solo at the begining to set the tone. It looks like it is an SATB arrangement of the song. It sounds similar to the other song I chose where it’s slow and dreamy. This one I guess the only thing I think of is sleeping because it’s a lullabye sound. It sounds a little bit sad too I guess. The song is in english and it sounds acapella again. I didn’t see any back story on this song either. I thought this song might have a backstory to it though because the song itself seems like it is telling a story with the girl at the beginning  being different from the rest of the choir and the fact that she starts alone and then the rest of the choir backs her up it sounds like this is her story in a song and they are helping her tell it. It sounds like the song could be about overcoming things since it rises and falls a few times. The last song I chose for this paper was “O Salutaris Hostia”. In this song it opens with a soprano singing a solo and it sounds really cool and then the guys come in and start singing. The song starts to build and then get quieter and then eventually the other lady parts start coming in and harmonizing with her so it is a really cool effect the different parts have on each other. This song was written for all the parts so SATB choir. The song doesn’t have a super happy tone to it. It isn’t overly sad though either it has kind of a neutral tone to it. It does have a build in it too though and the end sounds like some heavenly voice which makes me think that something just got fixed like that there was a problem and the end of the song there is a resolution.In conclusion his songs seem to have a dreamy tone to all of them but they also seem to tell a story. The first song was just a really peaceful song that reminded me of a summer night and when they added the twinkling lights in the performance it just added to it. Then the second song I used kept the tone of dreamy which makes sense since the name of the song was related to sleep. The third song then differed a little bit because it had more dynamics and more energy so I liked that it was a little different. Also as I listened to the songs I tried to figure out what kind of landscape he was trying to capture if any but I didn’t think anything popped out in that way. My guess is that these songs were not ones written for that purpose.


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